Lakers take another hit as Dennis Schröder enters NBA’s COVID-19 protocols – Daily News

It is coldly fitting for a season where the Lakers haven’t been able to align their forces all at once that, just as it seemed things were coming together, they would lose yet another critical piece.

There was an air of weariness for coach Frank Vogel before Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors, when he acknowledged that, yes, Dennis Schröder would miss the start due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. It’s the fifth game the point guard has missed due to the protocols, and like the last time that he went out, the team cannot publicly disclose how much time he’ll miss.

“I mean obviously he’s a heavy usage player for us, so it’s a big loss,” Vogel said. “But we’ve got plenty of guys who can step up in his place and carry that load.”

An offseason trade acquisition, Schröder has become critical to the Lakers’ lineup, averaging 15.5 points and 5.8 assists during the season. The last time he missed games due to the health and safety protocols, the Lakers went 0-4 with LeBron James but without Anthony Davis. As a ball-handler and off-the-dribble offensive threat, he’s hard to replace.

The Lakers had the fortune of returning Alex Caruso, who missed two games with back spasms. And of course having James in the lineup gives them one of the most reliable primary ball-handlers in the league. But it is a significant setback for a team already operating under a condensed timeline to build on-court chemistry with James and Davis back from long-term injury, and Andre Drummond as a midseason addition.

Vogel remained stoic after the latest bit of bad news.

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